17 November 2009

Teaching What I Want to Learn


Way back two months ago I taught a workshop at Zea Mays Printmaking that we named "Experiments In Woodblock Printing." It was a short two-day workshop, way too short to create an edition of multi-block prints, so I decided to focus on printing techniques. I asked participants to bring a very simple design or two designs that could interact because we were only going to carve two blocks. We spent only the first 4 or 5 hours on carving. The rest of the workshop was about printing, and each participant worked with two carved blocks plus an uncarved block.

I didn't file a report about this workshop as I usually do because I didn't take any photos, but I recently got some pictures that the Zea Mays staff took, so here are some for you to see.

I demonstrated five or six basic techniques at a time, and did three series of demos during the weekend.

I wanted to share all the ways that an uncarved block can be used -- to make a solid background, to create bokashi blends, to add texture across the print, to use a stencil

In this photo you can see the two simple blocks I had carved to demonstrate with

Demonstrating a simple bokashi

I suggested that participants start by working with just one color until they began to get the feel for moku hanga

Trying out some moku hanga "wiping"

It worked! I was winging it in these demos, which I wanted to do so that participants would feel free to wing it too.

Franklin of Artblog.net posted some of his prints from the workshop on his blog

Another reason I'm posting about this workshop now is because this latest print I'm working on takes a similar tack as the workshop in that unlike many of the prints I've done in the past that relied heavily on detailed carving, Vast Unpeopled Lands uses only four blocks. Most of the heavy lifting has been accomplished through the process of printing (25 impressions and counting).

I learned a lot and loosened up too at this last Zea Mays workshop. Thanks to all the participants who experimented with me. It was a much more playful workshop than usual and I enjoyed watching your prints develop and change.


Kris Wiltse said...

Oh, I so wish I was on the east coast so I could take your class! Looks like allot of fun and a great learning experience.

Linda B. said...

I sure hope you are doing this again. I wanted so badly to take this workshop as you know. Now I know I really missed out. So what if it would take 12 hours to get there, next time I plan to be there.
Linda B.

Ellen Shipley said...

Really love the piece. That looks like a lot of fun. I'd love to take it, but alas I'm on the wrong coast.

Melody Knight Leary said...

Your title "Teaching What You Want To Learn" struck a note with me because I was reminded that one of the responsibilities of a good teacher is to explore the unknown so you can pass it along to others. It seems as though no matter how often you teach something, there's always more to learn along the way. It's great when a teacher can loosen up and let things happen naturally because it truly does give students the license to do the same. I bet you gave a great workshop and would have loved to participate if I had known about the offering.

starkeyart said...

Ditto what Kris, Linda, Ellen and Melody had to say...if only I were closer. Sounds like a great time. Also, I have to add, even though there is so much thought and planning that goes into the making of a print, I think the medium does offer some room for spontaneity. There's a lot of joy to be found in playing and experimenting with color and layering! But then again, I'm a gradient junkie.

Anonymous said...

Love the photos, wonderful experiments, keeps the prints fresh ! keep them coming...

Julio Rodriguez (Skokie, Il)

Leslie Moore said...

Darn! I wish I'd been there. I would have love to play with all these techniques. Next time for sure!

Franklin said...

I'm just finding this now, but I wanted to let everyone know that Annie is an excellent, attentive teacher and the workshop was a real pleasure. Thank you too for the positive remarks on my watercolors a while back. I'll catch up with you when I get my blocks printed, hopefully in January if not sooner. Cheers!

Ellen Longo said...

Now that I'm close by, and having time to catch up on your blog, I'd love to take one of your beginning workshops some time. I'll keep my eye out for the next one!

Love to you and Lynn.